Tag Archives: gaslighting

Common Myths About Narcissistic Abuse

There are many myths about narcissistic abuse.  This post’s purpose is to debunk some of the more common ones.

“You let him/her get away with treating you that way.  That’s why he/she does what they do.”  Narcissists aren’t normal people who respect boundaries.  They don’t care that their actions cause pain & problems for others.  They only care about what they want.  No matter what consequences you give a narcissist, chances of them respecting your boundaries are slim to none. 

“Narcissists only abuse the weak & stupid.”  Anyone can be abused by a narcissist, no matter their intelligence, personality, religious beliefs, social standing or gender.  Narcissists are incredibly good actors & can convince anyone of whatever they want them to believe.  Even people who know a great deal about Narcissistic Personality Disorder can be fooled temporarily.  Someone who doesn’t know about it can be fooled much easier & for a much longer time before they realize something is very wrong.

“You must have done something to attract this type of person.”  This is nothing but victim blaming & shaming, & is incredibly cruel!  Do you know the kind of person narcissists are attracted to?  People with kind, loving & gentle spirits who have a great deal of empathy.  It is wrong to make people like this feel badly for being this way, especially when these are all wonderful qualities!

“You just need to learn how to stop making him angry or stay out of his way.”  No one is responsible for another person’s abusive behavior beyond the abuser.  Nothing anyone can do can prevent any abuser from abusing, period.  Narcissists are also incredibly toxic people who enjoy torturing their victims.  One way they do this is to keep their victims in a constant state of high alert by changing what angers them & what they want.  No matter how much a person may want to avoid angering the narcissist in their life or stay out of his way, it’s impossible.

“You need to fix this relationship!”  One of my aunts told me this regarding the relationship I had with my parents.  She is far from the only person to think in such a dysfunctional & foolish manner.  The problem is no one person can fix a relationship.  While one person can destroy a relationship, it takes two people to fix one.  Not to mention, in the mind of narcissists, their relationships are fine.  They don’t need fixing, at least so long as the victim does whatever the narcissist wants & tolerates the abuse.

“If it’s so bad, just walk away/go no contact.”  Anyone who says this most likely lacks empathy.  Ending relationships is always hard.  Ending a relationship with a narcissist is even harder, especially if that person is someone you love a great deal such as a spouse or parent.  Chances are the person who says this also has no concept of trauma bonding.  Trauma bonding is common among narcissists & their victims.  This is when the narcissist interjects some kindnesses in with their abuse.  They also destroy their victims’ self esteem, making them think they can’t survive without the narcissist.  There is also the fact that many narcissists financially ruin their victims so they are dependent on their narcissist.  Narcissists also isolate their victims from friends & families, so they have no one they can trust to help them.  Leaving narcissists isn’t as simple as “just walking away” for these reasons & many more.

“You’ve been away from the narcissist for a while so you should be over it by now.”  Narcissistic abuse often creates Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in victims.  This disorder as well as the tremendous amount of psychological warfare waged against victims by narcissists mean there is no “getting over it”.  It takes a lot of time to come to any sort of terms to what happened & if you have PTSD, to learn to manage your symptoms.

These are only a few of the myths about narcissistic abuse, but even so, I hope my debunking helps you. 

12 Comments

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

How Narcissists Like Making You Feel Dumb To Make Themselves Feel Smart & Superior

I was mopping my basement floor in our old house one morning when I remembered the oddest thing.  The paint was flaking off badly, & had been since immediately after I painted that floor not long before we moved into our home.  I’d never painted concrete before & had no clue it required special prep before paint.

What I remembered was how about the time my husband & I went to settlement on our house, I mentioned to both my father & father in-law on separate occasions that I was going to paint the basement walls & floor first, so we could start to move our belongings in the basement very soon after settlement.  Then I would focus on painting the main level.  Neither my father nor father in-law said a word.

Shortly after, I told both fathers on separate occasions again that I had finished painting the basement.  Both men had the exact same reaction.  They asked if I prepared the floor with muriatic acid before painting.  I was surprised because I never even heard of this product.  I told them no.  And again, both men had the same reaction.  Both shook their heads & smirked at me, not saying another word.

Having never painted any concrete before, I had no idea that muriatic acid could be used to pre-treat concrete to help paint stick to the surface.  A little tip that might have been nice to know prior to working so hard painting the entire concrete floor in my home’s basement, don’t you think?

Unfortunately, both my father & father in-law were narcissists.  My father a covert one who became more overt as he got older & developed Alzheimer’s.  My father in-law was overt in his younger days & became much less narcissistic as he got older in spite of having dementia. 

When I thought about this situation, I realized that their responses were typically narcissistic, & I’ll tell you why.  Both men had the typical male need to feel useful, but I believe being narcissists, it was very exaggerated.  I can’t help but wonder if me not asking for their advice prior to my painting task offended them to the point of narcissistic injury.  It’s entirely possible of course.  Narcissists get offended so easily.

What also is entirely possible is that by not giving me the information they knew I needed, they set me up in order to feel superior.  Narcissists LOVE to feel superior to other people in any & every way.  It props up their ego & seems to just feel really good to them.  While almost anyone can appreciate feeling superior to some small degree, narcissists take it to an extreme.  They need it like an addict needs their drug of choice, & many times, will do anything in order to access that feeling of superiority.  They have no problem withholding information or providing false information, or even blatantly lying to or about their victim.  Whatever it takes to make them feel superior is going to be done.  If you or someone else gets hurt in the process, that isn’t important.  What the narcissist wants is the only thing that matters.  At least to the narcissist, that is.

Knowing this information is vital for anyone who comes in contact with a narcissist in any capacity.  It can help you to avoid a great deal of frustration & wondering why they did what they did.  Remember that they are selfish to the extreme, & all that matters to them is whatever they want at that specific moment.  Hurting others to get that is not a big deal to anyone who lacks empathy, like narcissists.  It’s very sad that there are people out there who are so pathetic they are willing to hurt anyone & everyone to accomplish their goals, but unfortunately, there are people like that.  And they are everywhere!  Be aware of that fact & protect yourself!

5 Comments

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Mental Health, Narcissism

How Narcissists Make Victims Lose Themselves

When you are subjected to narcissistic abuse, you lose yourself.  You often feel as if you’re being fake.  Sadly, the truth is you are being fake, but not because of some flaw in you.

Narcissists do their best to mold their victims into whatever they want them to be.  To do this, they start by destroying their victim’s personality.  They convince victims that they don’t like the things they do like, & they like things they don’t like.  They also convince victims that they feel a certain way about things that is completely untrue. 

Gaslighting is a very effective way to accomplish this.  By repeatedly swearing that a victim has said or hasn’t said something & even getting angry about it, a victim often starts to believe that the narcissist is telling the truth.  Denial & making a person question their memories

Invalidation is also helpful in forwarding a narcissist’s agenda.  Convincing someone that they have some deep flaws for feeling as they do will change their mind about their feelings.  No one wants to be labeled as intensely flawed or even crazy, so they change their mind.

Narcissists also make their victims feel as if they are a disappointment, & the narcissist deserves better than that.  This guilt makes victims work harder to please the narcissist, yet they can’t do it.  The narcissist continually changes what they want & makes the goals loftier & unattainable. 

Gaslighting, invalidation & this disappointment all work together to make victims feel shame.  They feel ashamed of themselves, of who they are, of their beliefs, of what they want, think & feel… of everything about themselves.  Once this toxic shame takes root in a person, they become very easy to manipulate & control, which is why narcissists work so hard to accomplish this.

If you feel this way, you’re not alone!  I have been there too.  First my mother tried to mold me into what she wanted from me, then my ex husband did.  By the time I was in my mid 20’s, I had no idea who I really was or what I really liked, didn’t like, believed… it was a nightmare!  It took time but I finally got to know the real me, & you know something?  That person is ok! 

If you’re reading this now, I want you to know that the real you is ok too!  I also want you to know that you need to get to know this person that God made you to be, without the input of the narcissist. 

Start questioning everything.  Ask yourself how you genuinely feel about things.  For example, do you like the kind of music you do because the narcissist told you that you liked it, or is it truly your taste?  What about the kind of work you do- do you enjoy it or did your narcissistic parent tell you that you needed to get into this line of work?

If the narcissist is still in your life, question everything he or she tells you, especially about how you feel about things.  While the narcissist most likely claims to know you better than you know yourself, this is nothing but a lie.  You know you better & if you get to know yourself well, then nothing the narcissist says can cause you to doubt yourself or change yourself into someone you’re not ever again!

2 Comments

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Mental Health, Narcissism

Some Information About Toxic Shame

Victims of narcissistic abuse struggle with shame, even when they don’t recognize that is the root of their struggle.  There are two main reasons for this…

Reason #1- Shame is an incredibly effective weapon which is why narcissists use it so freely.  It can reduce even the strongest of person to a mere shadow of their former self, which makes that person easy to manipulate.

Reason #2- Shame is also rather easy to put on someone.  Repeating the same message can drill it into someone’s mind.  Saying that message with certainty as overt narcissists do or with great disappointment as covert narcissists do helps drive the point home even faster.  During the shaming, victims seldom realize what is happening or later that shame is at the root of many of their problems.

If you have been in the position of having a narcissist put toxic shame on you, you’re not alone!  Not alone by a long shot!  And, for more good news, you can heal.  It will take some effort & time, but you can heal. 

As always, I recommend starting with prayer.  Ask God to show you what to do, to help you to heal & anything else that comes to mind.  He will be glad to help you however you need.

You need to acknowledge areas where you feel shame.  Write them down if it helps you.  I have comprised a list to help you get started.  You never need to carry shame for…

  • Someone else’s actions.
  • Things that were done to you.
  • For having different likes, dislikes, values, ideas, feelings than someone else.
  • Prejudices against you due to your race, gender, religious beliefs, etc.
  • For things your family members have done.
  • For having needs or wants.
  • For having boundaries.
  • For needing help or support.
  • For struggling.

Once you identify the areas where you carry shame, they need to be addressed.  One thing that helps me to do this is to think logically & unemotionally about the problem.  I look at it objectively & ask myself if I have anything to be ashamed of in this particular situation.  If not, then why do I feel shame for it?  Looking at it this way helps me to see the toxic shame that has been put on me for what it is.  That makes it easier to release.

I find it also helps to ask God what the truth is in the situation.  Do I deserve to feel the way I do?  Have I done anything that warrants me feeling this way?  What is the truth in this situation?  His words speak life so His answers are incredibly freeing & eye opening!

Another thing that has helped me heal from shame is to identify who precisely put the shame on me, then to envision giving it back to them.  I know this sounds odd at best, but it can be surprisingly helpful.  I have envisioned myself holding a box containing all the toxic shame that has been put on me.  The box is ugly & even moving, so it’s pretty disturbing.. just like toxic shame.  I hand that box to the person who put the shame on me & tell them this is yours.  I refuse to carry it for a moment longer.  Narcissists refuse to accept any responsibility for their actions, so even when I imagine this scenario, they avoid touching the box.  I say that is fine, then put the box at that person’s feet & walk away.  When I have mentioned this to other people, some have said they have done something similar. Some have imagined putting the box at the foot of the cross where Jesus was crucified instead.

Toxic shame is a terrible thing, I know, & no one should have to live with it.  I pray that what I have said can help you to heal from the damaging effects.  God bless you!

2 Comments

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

Narcissists Don’t Like People Who Are Different

Narcissists expect everyone to be just like them.  Not only do they expect other people to lie, manipulate & project, but they expect other people to share their likes, dislikes, beliefs & more.  When others aren’t exactly like them, narcissists shun & try to change those people.

My late mother in-law & two sisters in-law have been great examples of this in my life.  My personality is naturally quite different than theirs.  We never shared likes, dislikes, beliefs or really anything in common. 

The three of them hated how different I was, & tried to make me like things they did.  Usually by insulting things I care about, like my mother in-law insulting me for “liking to be all dirty” by helping my husband repair our car.  There was also manipulation though.  In passing, some time before Christmas one year, I’d mentioned to my mother in-law how I dislike cooking.  Apparently she told her daughters, because that Christmas, all three of them gave me cooking paraphernalia.  Cookbooks, utensils, food, seasonings & more. I refer to that Christmas as the Christmas of cooking.

They all are much more extroverted than me, too.  Naturally I’m pretty quiet but compared to any extrovert, I seem excessively quiet.  One sister in-law told my husband that I was a snob, thought I’m so much better than them & treated them all as, “Poor white trash”.

My own family is no better.  My parents insulted my writing even before I started writing about narcissism.  My mother called it a “waste of time”.  My father asked me one day in a skeptical tone, “Does anyone even buy those books you write?”  Others have insulted me for writing about the topics I do, in particular my faith. Obviously I’m not a good Christian in their opinion, because of what I write about.

There is nothing abnormal about this at all for narcissists.  This is how they all seem to think.  If you don’t fit inside their box, that means you’re bad, wrong, stupid & even crazy. 

If you have witnessed this sort of behavior, it’s not your imagination.  Really, this is how they & their flying monkeys act!  You’re not overreacting!  Maybe you were on the direct receiving end of the hatefulness.  Maybe you have seen it happen to others, for example in an online forum.  If you were a witness to this behavior & defended the person that was targeted, chances are you quickly were targeted.  Anyone who disagrees with a narcissist is targeted.  Their egos can’t handle that someone might think they are wrong about something, so rather than reflect & consider their own perspective, they prefer to attack an innocent person.

If this is your situation please know there is nothing wrong with you.  Your flaws are only in the mind of the narcissist.  Everyone is different, & that is ok!  There is nothing wrong with you for having different likes & perspectives from a narcissist.  There is nothing wrong with you for defending someone you think it was unfair of them to attack or at least judge & criticize.  In fact, I think defending that person makes you a good person because it shows you won’t be one of those people who does nothing in the face of injustice.  That is a rare & wonderful quality!

Just remember, when this happens to you that this isn’t proof that something is deeply wrong with you.  It proves that something is deeply wrong with the one behaving in this manner.  Healthy, functional people accept that not everyone is the same & even appreciate the differences in others.  Only completely dysfunctional, closed minded & foolish people want everyone to be just like them.

7 Comments

Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health, Narcissism

Another Tool Narcissists Use: Negging

Narcissists are notorious for their scathing criticisms & verbal abuse.  Overt narcissists in particular love telling their victims how fat, skinny, ugly, stupid, useless they are & more.  They have no problem spelling out their victims’ supposed flaws very clearly. 

When the narcissist in question is a parent, this is often the norm.  That child probably doesn’t remember any time where their narcissistic parent wasn’t obviously cruel with their words.  Other relationships with narcissists are different, however.  No one would get involved with a narcissist if they saw upon meeting them how cruel they were.  Possessing the ability to be creative in ways to abuse, they have found a fantastic tool that allows them to abuse while not appearing to be abusive.  Covert narcissists use this tool constantly, while overts usually only use it at the beginning of relationships.  This tool is called negging.

Negging subtly tears down a person’s self esteem while not appearing to be abusive. Negging is done by offering complements that aren’t really complements but insults disguised as complements or constructive criticism.  The comments also can involve comparing a victim to someone else, “one upping” or brushed off as “just joking”.  Some examples are:

  • It’s ok you didn’t get a good grade in that class.  The course was too hard for you, so I didn’t expect you to get a good grade.
  • That’s amazing you got such a good grade on that test!  Who helped you study?
  • I like what you’ve done with your makeup.  Did you learn how to do that from your sister?
  • You’ve lost so much weight!  I really see it in your face!
  • You really don’t care what other people think of you at all, do you?
  • Congratulations on your promotion!  I just got engaged!
  • I was just kidding!
  • Wow, you sure are easily offended!  Seems like I can’t say anything without you getting upset.

Negging is also commonly used when a narcissist is trying to start up a romantic relationship.  They may say comments such as:

  • You’re normally not my type, but I’d like to go out with you sometime.
  • You remind me of my mom/dad/brother/sister.

If someone you just meet says things like this, these could be red flags of narcissism.  Your best bet is not to engage this person in any relationship.

If someone you are already in a relationship does this, there are ways to cope.  Show no emotional reaction, remember you have the right to protect yourself with healthy boundaries such as refusing to discuss certain topics with this person, don’t insult the other person back as they can use it to prove how unstable or mean you are. 

Negging can be difficult to recognize at first due to its subtle nature.  If you are unsure if someone in your life is treating you this way, write down what happens.  Sometimes seeing things in front of you can help you to see situations more clearly.  Or, talk to someone you know who is supportive & emotionally healthy.  They will give you a good perspective.  If you don’t feel comfortable talking to someone close to you about this, contact a domestic violence center near you or the National Domestic Abuse hotline.  Examine your life & how it has changed since this person came into your life.  Is this person isolating you from your friends & family, for example?  Isolation is a very big red flag of abusers.  Even if this person isn’t obviously trying to keep you from others, does this person insult those you love?  That is a very subtle way of isolating someone.

I wish you the best in your situation!

9 Comments

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Mental Health, Narcissism

Turning The Other Cheek

I noticed some interesting things when reading Matthew 5:38-39 in the Amplified translation of the Bible recently.  The verses say, “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth [punishment that fits the offense].’ 39 But I say to you, do not resist an evil person [who insults you or violates your rights]; but whoever slaps you on the right cheek, turn the other toward him also [simply ignore insignificant insults or trivial losses and do not bother to retaliate—maintain your dignity, your self-respect, your poise].”  The first interesting part was the definition of evil person.  It says someone “who insults you or violates your rights.”  That sounds like a narcissist to me.  After all, they live to be insulting & violate the rights of others.  It’s what they do & do so well.

I also like the next part of that verse that describes what turning the other cheek really means.  That was the second interesting thing I noticed.  That part of verse 39 says,  “Simply ignore insignificant insults or trivial losses, & do not bother to retaliate – maintain your dignity, your self-respect, your poise.”  That perfectly describes the Gray Rock Method!  It provides no narcissistic supply while you maintain your composure.  Narcissists can’t stand that!  They absolutely hate it, but there is nothing they can do about it without looking foolish.  This means they will leave you alone.

Like I’ve said many times in my work, it’s impossible to avoid narcissists.  They’re everywhere.  Even when we remove them from our lives, chances are excellent that others will pop up.  Hopefully only in passing, like maybe a cashier or repairman.  But, sometimes they pop up in other, closer relationships no matter how hard we try to avoid them.  A close friend starts dating a narcissist, or that new coworker is a narcissist.  In such situations, there is no escape.  The best that you can do is find ways to deal with that person.  The healthier you get, the more narcissists hate you, which may make the situation even more challenging for a while.  They see you as a threat because you can see what’s behind their masks & you don’t fall for their manipulation.  At some point though they will get bored with you & avoid you as much as possible.

In those situations, the best thing you can do is remember what the Bible says.  People who insult you & ignore your rights are evil in God’s eyes.  That is very clear in the verses from Matthew!  That means you need to protect youself from these people. 

Also, don’t forget the rest of the verse gives excellent advice in dealing with such people.  Ignore them.  Act like you didn’t even notice their cruel words or actions.  Don’t allow them to manipulate you or give them any praise.  Become boring to them, in other words.  This deprives people like this of narcissistic supply.  The more you deprive a narcissist of supply, the less that narcissist will want to do with you.  You are a waste of their time at this point.  They prefer to focus on people that will provide them with that narcissistic supply they crave so desperately.  Be as boring as possible to the narcissists in your life.  Doing so will keep you safe from their abuse.

7 Comments

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Narcissism

Re-Victimizing Survivors

In my experience as well as speaking with others who also have survived narcissistic abuse, I’ve noticed a very common phenomenon.  Society’s invalidation & even gaslighting of victims.

Possibly the most clear example of this came from my high school guidance counselor.  I went to her, trying to find some way to get along with my narcissistic mother, & not only wasn’t helped, I was hurt in the process.  One day, I told her about what I called my mother’s “lectures”, where she would scream at me, telling me how terrible I was, how other people talked about me behind my back because of how terrible I was & even accusing me of things I hadn’t done.  The counselor’s response?  “Well, that doesn’t sound so bad.”

Dear Reader, if you have experienced something similar to someone you told about your history of abuse, you know how painful this experience is.  It can catch you off guard, especially when it comes from someone you care about or expect to care, such as a therapist.

If you haven’t had the “pleasure” of this experience, chances are you will at some point.  Either way, when someone acts as described below, you need to remember, they clearly have a problem.

Some people blame victims for making the abuser act as they have.  Common sense should dictate that anyone who does this has their own issues.  No one can make someone abuse them!  Don’t accept this person’s blame for your abuser hurting you!  All blame for the abuse lies squarely on the shoulders of the abuser, period!

Some people also blame the victim for not getting away from their abuser sooner.  Many people don’t understand the concept of the trauma bond, how a victim can form a strong bond to their abuser.  They also don’t understand how abusers can financially abuse victims, leaving them with no money or means to earn money so they can escape.  Further more, they also fail to understand how many abusers have beaten their victims down so badly that the victims don’t think they can survive without the abuser.

Some people make the victim feel to blame for not being able to get along with the abuser.  I think it was about 5 ago, one of my aunts told me that I needed to get into therapy & figure out how to get along with my parents, & “don’t dare tell her it won’t work!”  I told her I did that when I was only 17 & what I learned is no relationship can work if only one person is willing to work on it.  I stand by that today.  No relationship can be healthy if only one person works on it.  People who don’t realize that are foolish.  

Some people assume they know best what the abuser’s  intentions are, & assume they have good intentions but misguided actions.  If someone defends your abuser by saying things like, “He didn’t mean to hurt you…”  “She just doesn’t know any better”, or “That’s just how he is,” this person is invalidating & gaslighting you.  No truly innocent person hurts people repeatedly after being called out on their behavior.  

Some people push victims to heal.  Only the most toxic person would dare to trivialize a victim’s horrific experiences, tell a victim of abuse to “get over it”, accuse a victim of being codependent or fail to understand why that person hasn’t “forgiven & forgotten.”  Healing is a very individual path.  Everyone’s path is very different.  Also, every narcissist is different, so naturally how they abuse their victims is different.  It’s only natural to assume that no two victims will heal the same way & many victims will have to work on their healing for a long time, most likely a lifetime.

People who treat victims like I described in this post are further abusing victims rather than helping them.  If you come across people like this, stay away from them.  Instead, deal with people who possess empathy, kindness & aren’t judgmental know it alls who assume they know your situation better than you do.

11 Comments

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health, Narcissism

Commonly Used Gaslighting Phrases

Gaslighting is an especially insidious form of abuse that makes a victim doubt their memories, perceptions, reality & sometimes even their sanity.  Narcissists love to use it due to the fact that people who live with frequent gaslighting are easy to control.  After all, if a person doesn’t trust themselves, they will look elsewhere for whatever information they need, even to an abusive person who is the reason they no longer trust themselves.

Gaslighting can be very subtle, which means it can be difficult to identify.  Below are some commonly used phrases narcissists use to gaslight their victims.

“You’re crazy.”  Either said outright or implied with phrases like, “You need help.”  This phrase can make a person doubt their sanity when repeated often enough & with certainty.

“You’re over sensitive or overreacting.”  Another common gaslighting phrase.  This is said to make a victim feel shame for being upset at what the abuser has said or done.  Few things will shut a person down faster than shame, & when they are shut down, they won’t complain about the abuse.

“I was just kidding!”  This phrase is closely related to “You’re oversensitive.”  It is designed to create doubt.  The victim is supposed to think they overreacted or are too sensitive or stupid to realize the comment was just a joke.  The truth is however that it was nothing of the sort.

“You need to get over it!”  This phrase basically tells a victim that they are wrong for still being upset about whatever the abuser did that upset them.  Narcissists want their victims to tolerate abuse indefinitely & without complaint.  If they can make their victim feel badly about themselves or even ashamed for being upset, then they have an excellent chance of getting the victim to continue to tolerate abuse.

“It didn’t happen that way!”  This phrase can be used in a couple of ways.  The first & most obvious of course is to make a victim doubt their perception & believe the narcissists’s version of events.  The other use may be the narcissist’s lack of coping skills coming into play.  The narcissist may be ashamed of something they said or did, not because it hurt the victim, but because it may make the narcissist look bad if the victim tells others about what happened.  In order to avoid that, the narcissist may try to convince themselves & the victim that it didn’t happen that way, it happened this very different way instead.  This way will involve the narcissist not acting badly or the victim doing something to provoke the narcissist to do what they did.

“That never happened!”  Denial is a very commonly used tool with narcissists.  If they can get their victim to believe that something never happened, that person won’t tell others what the narcissist has done.

“No one else would feel that way./ You’re the only person in the world who would feel that way.”  This phrase is another way for narcissists to shame victims by making them feel they are weird, wrong, broken.  If they can shame a victim enough, the victim will stop complaining about the abuse & tolerate it quietly.

“I’m only doing this because I love you.”  My mother used to justify abusing me by telling me it was “tough love” she was using on me & I deserved it because of my terrible behavior.  That is all this phrase is – a way for a narcissist to justify being abusive.

“No one will ever love you like I do.”  My ex husband told me this once, & I thank God he was right about that!  The phrase is said to make a victim feel that they are lucky to have the narcissist’s love, because no one else ever could or would care about them.

When the narcissist in your life says such things to gaslight you, keep in mind that is exactly what these phrases are, gaslighting.  That means there isn’t an ounce of truth in them at all.  If you have doubts, ask yourself why do you think the narcissist is right.  Or better yet, ask God to tell you the truth in this situation.

Keep a journal.  If you haven’t done this before, do it now.  Write down what the narcissist says.  Seeing things in writing can bring about a great deal of clarity.  Often, it makes things clearer than simply talking or thinking about them.

Always remember, the narcissist says these things to manipulate you & to keep you down.  Don’t give the narcissist that satisfaction!

8 Comments

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

Grooming

One very common tactic of narcissistic abusers, parents in particular it seems, is called grooming.

Grooming is a two fold process….

Narcissists work very hard to groom their victims.  In other words, they convince the victim that he or she is to blame for all of the problems in the relationship.  If the victim would just do *fill in the blank* then the narcissistic abuser wouldn’t do whatever it is that upsets the victim.  So many of us have heard such ridiculous statements from our abusers as, “You made me hit you!” or, “If you wouldn’t have done what you did, I wouldn’t have had to do what I did.”  On my seventeenth birthday, my mother destroyed the gifts my now ex husband gave me.  She blamed me for making her do it because, according to her, I was “acting snotty.”  The fact is, I knew she hated him & would be angry he gave me gifts.  I didn’t want to take those gifts home, but I had no other choice.  I was quiet when I got in her car after school that day, because I was blindly terrified of my mother’s rage.  In her mind, my fear was “acting snotty” & an excuse to do what she did.

Grooming victims also means that the victim will feel guilt & even shame for making the relationship with the narcissist so incredibly unhealthy.  They will do their best to fix this relationship & please the narcissist.  Grooming makes victims very easy to manipulate & abuse.  After all, if someone truly believes that they are the problem, they will do whatever they can to make the relationship better.  They also will listen to whoever has convinced them that they are the problem, because obviously, in their mind anyway, this person knows better than they do how to fix things.

Narcissists also do their best to groom other people.  This means that they convince other people that the victim is the real problem in the relationship.  This works well for narcissists, because so long as other people believe this lie, they will never believe that the victim is anything but a problem.  The victim is the reason the narcissist acts the way she does.  The victim provokes the narcissist, or lies about the narcissist, or at least that is what is told to other people.  This insures that the victim is not believed when he or she decides to speak up about the narcissist.  These people always believe the victim to be nothing but trouble, so they won’t believe anything this person has to say about the narcissist.  The narcissistic abuser can do whatever they want & no one will believe the victim about how awful this person is.

In either case, the victim is not believed, so the abuser can continue their reign of terror without fear of anyone believing that she is the evil monster that she is.

Unfortunately, no victim of narcissistic abuse can avoid grooming or convince others that the narcissist is lying about the situation.  The only ways that I have learned to deal with this awful behavior are as follows..

Ignore those who believe the narcissist over you.  Yes, it hurts.  Yes, you’re going to lose people you thought were on your side.  However, one good thing is that you will learn who truly loves you.

Anyone who does not blindly believe what the narcissist in your life says about you is on your side.  Normal people question things, & do not blindly believe anything, in particular stories told of people they are close to.

Anyone who gets angry upon hearing the lies the narcissist says about you is also on your side.  Loving people are protective of those they care about, & also have no patience for people lying about them.

If someone is willing to share anything you say with the narcissist or tell you why what you feel is completely wrong, these are also red flags.  These red flags are signs of a flying monkey, someone who cares only about the narcissist, & nothing about you.

And, never forget to stand strong in the truth.  You know what has happened.  You also know what the narcissist in your life has said happened.  Stick to the truth, what really happened.  Remember narcissists lie a LOT, & do not believe the lies!

3 Comments

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Mental Health, Narcissism

Abusive Behaviors Normally Not Considered To Be Abusive

Narcissists & their flying monkey enablers have a very skewed view of what is ok & what isn’t ok, what’s abusive & what isn’t abusive.  Narcissists are an extremely entitled bunch & they lack empathy, so in their minds, whatever they want is all that matters.  Hurting others isn’t important.  And, their flying monkeys agree wholeheartedly.  So what if someone gets hurt?  The narcissist is the important one, after all.

These people act like certain abusive behaviors are completely normal.  In time, this can make victims think the narcissist is right, that they are wrong for being upset about something that is supposed to be so normal.  More subdued abusive behaviors often fall into this category.

Also, many abuse victims develop a very thick skin when it comes to abuse.  This comes from being abused repeatedly.  If an abuser isn’t screaming at them or physically assaulting them, they sometimes don’t think they are being abused.  Unfortunately abuse isn’t always so easy to spot.  It can be subtle, but equally abusive.  This post will describe some of the subtle ways a person can abuse.

Taking or relocating your property.  When you live with someone, chances are excellent you will move each other’s property at some point.  My husband moves my purse if it’s in his way, for example.  But when someone hides or even gets rid of something that belongs to you, that is abnormal!  It is also abusive if the person blames you for forgetting that you moved or got rid of the item when they are the one who did it.  That is gaslighting!

Controlling behavior.  Telling you what to say, how to act, how to look, what to wear, hiding your car keys so you can’t go anywhere are all abusive, even if there are no physical threats to go along with the control.  No one has the right to control another person.

Sexual violations.  Someone who uses guilt & shame to force you to perform a sexual act that is something you really don’t want to do or causes you pain is just as guilty as the masked man who rapes you at knife point.  Just because a weapon wasn’t used doesn’t make this ok.  It’s not ok if you’re married either.  Being married doesn’t give anyone the right to be sexually abusive.

The silent treatment.  While the silent treatment isn’t usually considered abusive, it actually is.  If you don’t know what the person’s up to, the silent treatment can make you do almost anything to win the favor back of the person not speaking to you.  It sets you up to be controlled & manipulated while damaging your self-esteem.  Once you understand what the silent treatment is about though, it can be a pleasant respite from the abuse.

Being confusing & unreasonable during a disagreement.  Most people try to work together to a solution when involved in a disagreement, even if things are heated.  An abusive behavior is instead of working on a solution, talking in circles, trying to focus on something other than the issue at hand, projecting their flaws onto you, bringing up past arguments, & gaslighting.

Please remember not to normalize or excuse abuse.  Behavior like this is NOT normal & there is no excuse for anyone to act  this way.  Even if it happened “only once”, there is still no excuse for it.  Instead, admit the truth, that such actions are abusive & terrible.  You also need to accept that you have done nothing wrong, & you did nothing to deserve such treatment.  You have every right to be upset about what was done to you.  You also have every right to protect yourself from further abuse so set those boundaries & take good care of yourself!

4 Comments

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

Not All Causes Can Be Your Causes

Periodically I notice comments on Facebook that get under my skin.  The topic isn’t important, but the message is.  The message is something along the lines of, “If you don’t care about this topic, you’re a selfish jerk.”

In fact, some people have said things to me about issues, expecting my support, but when I don’t give it, they get downright shaming.  One of them was about how disappointed someone was in me for not noticing that one public figure was a narcissist.  Well, the truth is I disagreed with her assessment.  I also had virtually no interest in the arena where this person was popular, so I naturally hadn’t paid a lot of attention to this person.  In her world, apparently none of this was valid.  I was simply a terrible disappointment for failing to notice this person’s supposedly narcissistic ways.

There was a comment that I remember from several years ago when a lion was murdered in a sanctuary by a ruthless hunter.  It broke my heart seeing such a beautiful, wonderful animal murdered for no purpose beyond the hunter’s desire to say he killed this lion.  As I read through comments on a post on the topic, I saw a comment that said something like, “You people get so upset about just a lion, but do you even care about the fact that so many innocent babies are aborted every year?!”

In my younger days, comments like this made me feel guilty.  Honestly, I’ve never been interested in politics or the abortion debate or many other current events issues.  My heart lies more with issues about animal rights, Christian topics & naturally surviving abuse.  I felt I must be wrong for that until I realized something.

This doesn’t mean I don’t care about the country in which I live or the rights of the unborn.  What it means is I feel God wants me to focus more on animal rights, Christian topics & surviving abuse.

No one person can support every single issue!  It’s too much!  No one can afford to donate money to every worthy cause either,  simply because there are so many causes.

Also, no one can emotionally afford to support every single worthy cause.  Strong emotions can drain a person, even when those emotions are positive ones.  Everyone needs breaks, to distribute their emotions wisely & to do so with balance.  Doing this isn’t a bad thing.  It doesn’t make a person selfish or uncaring.  It makes a person human!

If someone tries to shame you for not actively supporting some cause that they support, I hope you will remember the information I shared here today.  Every single person has a unique calling in life & that means they need to support whatever issues they feel called to support.  That does NOT mean they need to support whatever the cause of the moment is.  God gives each person a unique purpose in their life, & the approval of other people isn’t a requirement.  What it does mean is that each person should follow their unique path, supporting the issues closest to their heart, & allowing others to do the same without judgment.

This also means each person should support the issues on their heart however they deem appropriate.  For some folks, it means writing as I do.  For some other folks, this means donating money.  For others, it means picketing in front of large corporations or political offices.  For still others it means working to change laws.  Not one of these is any better or worse than the other.  Different doesn’t equal wrong or bad.  It’s simply different, as each person’s unique walk that God has given them.

8 Comments

Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health, Narcissism

About Narcissists & Respect

8 Comments

Filed under Narcissism

Nit Picking & Changing Goals- Abuse Tactics Used By Narcissists

Narcissists all love to control their victims.  Many use two tactics simultaneously to get what they want.  Those tactics are nit picking & changing goals.

These evil tactics work very well together to make a victim feel not good enough, & willing to work harder & harder to please the narcissist.  As an example, at the time my ex husband & I were together, I felt I was morbidly obese & disgusting.  Looking back though at old pictures now, I see I was a normal weight.  Not skinny, not fat.. normal.  However, he constantly hinted that I needed to lose weight so I could look better.  Our marriage was a nightmare, & I thought that if I just could lose weight, I could fix it.  I know, this was very naive on my part but I was young & unaware of the kind of person I was dealing with at that time.

Anyway I lost weight.. 23 pounds to be precise.  I fit into a size 6 comfortably & some size 4’s as well.  Considering my frame & height, I was too thin, I think, but it still wasn’t good enough for my ex.

During my weight loss journey, my ex did not complement me or encourage me.  The closest thing he said to a complement was, “Well your butt finally looks better.”  He also made me feel like I needed to lose more & more weight in order to please him.  As thin as I was at that time, I still felt that I was disgustingly fat & like if I didn’t lose some more weight, my marriage would fail because of it.

My ex husband’s nitpicking & changing the goals in that area gave me a very skewed view of not only my appearance which damaged my already fragile self esteem, but also my responsibility in our failing marriage.  I felt as if I was completely to blame for the problems in our marriage, even though now I know I was not.  This is basically the goal of a narcissist who employs nitpicking & changing the rules.  If the narcissist can make their victim feel badly about themselves, they are easy to control, which of course is a great thing to a narcissist.  And, if the narcissist can convince the victim that something is their fault, they will work hard to please the narcissist.  The victim also will be so focused on trying to please the narcissist, they won’t realize that the narcissist is to blame, so the narcissist gets away with their abusive tactics.  And, this builds up a tolerance to abuse in a victim, so a narcissist can do more awful things & get away with them.

No matter the relationship, all narcissists seem to use nitpicking & changing the goals as a way to abuse their victims.  Parents use this tactic on their children even into adulthood, spouses use it, co workers & friends use it as well.  It is wise to learn to recognize this abusive tactic, understand it & find ways to cope with it.

Recognizing it is pretty easy.  When someone is excessively critical, even when said with feigned concern, & if the person also changes what they want from you often, these are big red flags.

You also need to keep in mind that this is not about you, it’s about the narcissist’s need to abuse & control you.  The things they criticize aren’t necessarily flaws.  Probably they are things you’re insecure about, so the narcissist uses your insecurities as a means to abuse you.

As for ways to cope, recognizing what is happening & remembering what the reasoning behind it is will help you tremendously.  Stick to your boundaries, too.  If you give a narcissist an inch, they’ll take 100 miles, so don’t give them what they want.  Also, I firmly believe in praying, asking God to give you creative ideas to deal with a narcissist is always a very good move.  He will give you effective ideas that you never would’ve thought of on your own.  Let Him help you!

Leave a comment

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Mental Health, Narcissism

A Passive/Aggressive Way Narcissists Use To Abuse

One passive/aggressive tactic narcissists use to abuse victims is to be sure they know they aren’t good enough.

A common way narcissists do this is to make sure you know that no matter how good you are at something, someone is better than you at it.  Let’s say you own your own interior designing business & the narcissist knows this.  Most people would be impressed by that.  Narcissists are too, just not when it comes to YOUR business.  They may say something like, “Did you know that Sally owns her own interior designing firm?  She is so smart & talented!  She works so hard!  Never takes a day off!”

While the words aren’t said, the message is still clear: “Sally has real talent!  You aren’t as hard working, talented or business savvy as she is!  You aren’t worthy of my admiration like Sally is!”

Another variation on this is when a narcissist says, “Interior decorating is so easy.  Seems like anyone can do it.  Anyone can put up a sign saying they’re an interior designer these days.  I can’t imagine why anyone would pay someone to do something so easy…”  Again, the words may not be said but the message is crystal clear – “You’re nothing special.  Any idiot can do what you do.”

A different tactic is used mostly by narcissistic spouses but also by parents.  They never tell you how attractive you are & they know you’re insecure about your appearance, but they freely complement others.  As an example, a narcissistic husband may fuss over a famous model’s beautiful figure to his pregnant wife who is about to give birth to their child, & who feels fat.  Parents can do this too, though.  My mother never told me I was pretty as a child.  In fact she used to brag that once she told me she thought I was “kinda pretty”, even though I don’t remember that happening.  Yet, when I was young, she’d fuss over how pretty other little girls were.  When I would be upset, she’d tell me I was wrong & shouldn’t feel as I did.

There are some big bonuses for narcissists in treating victims this way.  If you confront him or her, the narcissist knows their comment hurt you.  If you’re angry, all the better for the narcissist, because the narcissist can use your anger to prove how unreasonable & crazy you are.  They’ll say things like, “Don’t be so sensitive!”  “I don’t know how you got that out of what I said!”  “You read too much into things!”  If you’re unaware of what is happening, you easily can feel like the narcissist is right.  You’re crazy, oversensitive, etc.  Believing those lies will make you feel shame & be easier for the narcissist to control.  The narcissist may even use it as an excuse to discard you.

These tactics are attempts for narcissists to diminish anyone they envy, compete with or see as a threat in some way.  They knock a person down a bit by making them feel unimportant, bringing them closer to the narcissists level which also builds up the narcissist.

If the narcissist in your life treats you this way, remember what they are doing.  They’re using a passive/aggressive tactic to try to destroy your self esteem so they can control you.  Chances are, they don’t even mean the cruel things they say.  They’re actually envious of you for being prettier, more talented, more successful or whatever than they think they are.  Rather than try to better themselves, narcissists would rather tear someone else down.  So if the narcissist in your life treats you this way, don’t forget that.  What they say isn’t what they truly feel.  What they feel is the exact opposite.

27 Comments

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Mental Health, Narcissism

The Facts About Coersive Control

Leave a comment

Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health, Narcissism

No Win Situations & Narcissists

Setting you up in a no win situation is one of many weapons in the narcissist’s arsenal.  They put you in a situation where you can’t win so they have a reason to be angry with or hurt by you, or to make you do what they want.

In my late teens, my mother’s abuse was at its peak.  She would scream at me so often, it was just a way of life for me then.  She didn’t have any valid reason to scream at me, so she would often make up reasons or put me in a situation where I would be wrong no matter what.   One example that comes to mind took place not long after I met my now ex husband.  Upon seeing him for the first time, my mother hated him & told me to stay away from him.  I liked him so I sneaked around behind her back at work & school to see him. (The rest of the time I was with my mother).  He & I worked together, & often closed the place.  I wasn’t allowed to have a car, so my mother took me to & from work & school.  When my ex & I walked out from work together, my mother screamed at me as soon as I got into the car for spending time with him.  When I walked out first on the next evening we worked together, she screamed at me again for him “hiding from her”, “not having the guts to face her, “& “being a coward”.  Then on the next evening we shared a shift, he left first as I hung back.  Then she screamed at me for him “being so cocky”,  leaving work before me.  There were only three ways to handle the situation & she got mad at every single one of them.  She created the perfect no win situation.  When I tried talking to her about it, she screamed at me for not knowing what she expected of me.  It was devastating to me & made me feel crazy.  It didn’t matter to her it hurt me though- as long as she felt better, that’s all that mattered.  That’s how narcissists are- so long as they benefit, it doesn’t matter who they hurt or destroy.

Unfortunately, I’ve never found a really good way to deal with it.  That’s why it’s called a “no win” situation, I suppose.  All I have learned is not to engage in the behavior.  Let the narcissist have the temper tantrum but you remain calm.  Showing narcissists emotions only gives them supply so you refuse to do that!  Do NOT apologize if you weren’t wrong.  Change the topic.  Leave the room or hang up the phone.

Always remember, this is NOT normal behavior!  The person who puts another in a no win situation is not normal.  There is something very wrong with that person, not you.

19 Comments

Filed under Mental Health, Narcissism

Soulmates & Narcissists

Many people hear the term “soulmate” & assume it means someone romantically connected perfectly to another person.  This couple is assumed to be perfectly compatible in every way – comparable intellectually & sexually, sharing the same perspectives, feelings, likes & dislikes, & always agreeing with each other.  The perfect fairy tale love, in other words.  It also is a common belief that people have only one soulmate in their lifetime.

I don’t believe that this definition of soulmates is accurate at all.  I believe it’s actually better & more varied.

For one thing, I believe there are different types of soulmates, & they aren’t always romantic.  My best friend is my soulmate.  My husband sometimes finds it hard to believe just how much she & I have in common.  My husband is also my soulmate.  Both relationships are very different & neither relationship is perfect.

My husband & my best friend share much in common with me.  We all think remarkably similarly & share similar views on all kinds of things.  All of us are Christians.  We all grew up in similarly abusive, dysfunctional environments.  Yet at the same time, we’re all very unique individuals.  Each of us works in a very different line of work.  My husband is pretty interested in politics while my best friend & I have no interest in politics.  I love to crochet & knit while my husband & best friend have zero interest in either.  My best friend has no interest in cars while my husband & I both are pretty car obsessed, in particular with old classics.

While I consider my husband & best friend to be my soul mates, you can see obviously we aren’t perfect fits for each other.  Sometimes we even disagree with each other.  The cool part is that it’s totally fine!  We all respect each other’s differences.  We’re also willing to learn about the things that interest each other.  And, although we don’t always agree about everything, we have enough respect for each other to be perfectly fine with that.  We don’t have to agree about every single thing.

They both bring a great deal to my life, & I hope I return the favor to them.  They challenge me to be a better person.  There is no doubt that both are committed to the relationship with me.  I know if we have an argument, neither will abandon me.

The reason I’m mentioning soulmates is because many narcissists will try to convince their romantic partner that they are the partner’s perfect soulmate.  No one could be as good for them as the narcissist, or love them as the narcissist does, at least according to the narcissist.  In fact, my narcissistic ex husband once told me that no one would ever love me like he did.  To his credit, he was right – no one else has “loved” me as he did & that is a fact for which I am VERY grateful!  They also want their partner to think no one could understand them as well as the narcissist does, which is partly why they are the perfect soulmate to the partner.

If a romantic partner ever claims to be your soulmate, I want to encourage you to consider this person very well.  Does he or she show narcissistic tendencies?  Did this person mention the topic of being your soulmate early in the relationship?  When this person mentions the soulmate topic, does he or she only talk about how good they are for you, not that you’re also good for them?  Does this person use the phrase my ex used, that no one would love you like he or she loves you?  If so, these are some serious narcissistic red flags!  I would strongly encourage you to end the relationship!  Functional people don’t feel the need to convince their partner of their greatness for the partner.  My husband & best friend have never done this.  In fact, both tell me I’m good for them & that they appreciate me.

Functional people also don’t try to make a relationship very serious too early.  They realize it takes time to get to know each other enough to decide if this relationship has the potential to be serious.  Talking about being soulmates or discussing marriage early in the relationship isn’t normal!  My ex husband proposed to me only a bit under 3 months after we met.

Just remember, Dear Reader, that although it’s flattering if someone claims to be your soulmate, that also can be a red flag.  It can be the warning sign of a narcissist.

12 Comments

Filed under Mental Health, Narcissism

How Narcissists Manipulate Their Victims

One of the favorite tools of narcissists is saying something that may seem innocuous but in truth, it’s designed to cause hurt or anger.  Years ago, my late mother in-law  asked something me in front of my husband… “Is your car running ok?”  Sounds innocent.  Also, every time we went to her home, we were in my husband’s car so how was she to know if it was running or not?  The truth was she hated my car.  She told me many times I should get rid of it.  Her “innocent” comment was one more way to say she thought my car was a piece of junk.  Later, when I said something to my husband, he defended his mother.  He never heard her tell me how she hated my car, & as I said, when we visited her, we took his car.  He saw no evidence that what I said was true.

This is a very effective tactic!  What narcissists say may sound helpful or nice, & may even have a victim believing that for a second, but it’s manipulation.  It’s also said as it is to cause confusion, so when you confront the narcissist, they can deny any wrong doing. As an added bonus, narcissists like witnesses, so they can validate that the narcissist didn’t mean any harm & you’re wrong, as in the situation with my mother in-law.  This provides the narcissist with their precious narcissistic supply.  And, if you stay silent, this also provides the narcissist with supply, because they see they have control over you.

The coup de gras is when the narcissist can make you apologize for your valid feelings.  Unfortunately this happens often, because such devious techniques can be very difficult to spot.

There are different ways narcissist use this technique.  Some are listed below so you can learn to spot this manipulation as soon as it begins.

  • Mentioning an ex frequently.  Narcissists love to say “my ex is still in love with me”, that he or she called or they ran into each other somewhere.  They also may mention good qualities about this ex.  This is to make you jealous & insecure, by letting you know the narcissist has other, better options.  If you say anything, the narcissist says you’re insecure, & have no need to worry.  The reassurance doesn’t feel so reassuring, however.
  • Narcissists like to flirt, but not necessarily with their partner.  A narcissistic significant other has no trouble flirting with other people in front of their mate.  When confronted, they say things like they’re just being friendly, you need to stop being so insecure & the flirting doesn’t mean anything since you are the one he or she comes home to.  Again, the reassurance isn’t very reassuring!
  • Narcissistic parents “brag” about their children to others.  Narcissistic parents love to share stories about their children that make the parent look good.  If they were able to fix something for their child or rescue them after doing something not very wise, those stories will be shared.  When their child is upset, they tell their child they have nothing to be upset about because the parent was bragging about them.  How can that possibly be upsetting?
  • Being condescending.  Narcissists believe themselves to be of superior intellect, so when their victim is in need of advice, they offer their so called wisdom freely.  They mention they’re doing it to help or they have your best interest at heart, so your accusations offend them.  You should be grateful they care enough to help you!
  • Talking about things with other people in front of you that you know nothing about.  If you & the narcissist are with other people, they may discuss stories that you know nothing about or have inside jokes.  The narcissist wants you to feel left out.  If you mention it, the narcissist says he or she knew you wouldn’t want to go which is why you were left out, or you’d be bored by the silly inside jokes.  You then feel ashamed of yourself for your very valid feelings.

You can learn to recognize these subtle tactics with practice.  When you do, remind yourself of what is happening, & act accordingly.  Don’t show the narcissist that you’re hurt or angry.  Pretend not to notice their manipulation.  This will deprive them of narcissistic supply, & most likely they’ll stop using that tactic on you.

6 Comments

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

How People Revictimize Survivors Of Narcissistic Abuse

Leave a comment

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

Narcissists Don’t Believe When Others Are Sick Or Injured

Leave a comment

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

Judging Victims For Tolerating Abuse

I’ve noticed so many people are quick to judge victims of abuse for tolerating abuse. The nature of the relationship doesn’t seem to matter, the same things are said to victims.  These judgmental people say things like, “Well *I* certainly wouldn’t have put up with being treated like that!”, “Just go no contact!” or, “Why didn’t you leave sooner?”

This post is for those people who are quick to judge, & need a  lesson on the reality of what it’s like to be abused.

Unless a person has been subjected to the effects of daily, intense gaslighting, they truly don’t know what they would do in that situation, & have no right to judge a situation they can’t understand.

Abusers use gaslighting to convince their victims that they can’t make it in life without their abuser.  Abusers convince their victims that they are so stupid & incapable that they need the abuser to help them navigate through life.  Not even the most highly intelligent people are immune to this.

They also convince their victims that no one cares about them other than the abuser.  People only talk to them because they are trying to be nice, not because they really care, abusers say.  They also create doubts in victims’ minds about their loved ones by saying things like, “She isn’t really a good friend to you.”  “He doesn’t care about you yanno.”  When an abuser says such things with conviction, & a victim hears such things often enough, they believe them no matter how much evidence to the contrary they may see.

Abusers also are very good at convincing their victims that if they would try just a little harder, the abuser would threat the victim better.  Watch a young child with an abusive parent, & you will see this clearly.  The meaner the parent is, the harder the child works to please that parent.  Adults aren’t immune to this behavior though.  During my first marriage, I did this with my ex husband.  The problem with this behavior is whatever the victim does is never good enough.  Abusers are notorious for changing what they say they want, raising that bar a bit higher once the victim does what they originally said they wanted, or denying ever wanting that thing their victim just did.  A person unaware of this manipulative & abusive behavior will keep trying to please their abuser, which leads to utter frustration in the victim & satisfaction in the abuser for having such control over the victim.

There’s also the fact that most people don’t want to end relationships with those closest to them, & abusers are usually those closest to the victim.  Deciding to end a romantic relationship is a big deal, especially when abuse is involved because the victim is going to feel like a failure or stupid for falling for someone abusive.  If the abusive relationship is a parent/child relationship, that is incredibly hard to end too.  Who can feel completely comfortable telling their parents they never want to see them again?!

Lastly, many abusers prevent their victims from leaving.  They often take the victim’s money & ruin that person’s credit, making it impossible for the victim to leave.  They make the victim completely financially dependent on them.  They threaten to take the couple’s kids away so the victim never will see them again.  Some have been known to lock their victims in their home, making them a prisoner.  And, still others threaten to kill either the victim, their pets, their children, their friends or family if the victim leaves.

After considering all of this.. can you honestly still wonder why victims tolerated the abuse as long as they did?

2 Comments

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Narcissism

What Does A Narcissist Mean When They Say, “My Sources Say You Did That”?

One of the most infuriating things I dealt with at the hands of my narcissistic mother when her abuse was at its worst was when she’d say, “My sources say you were seen doing *fill in the blank* today.”  Or, “I was told that you did *fill in the blank*.”  I would ask her who said these things & she would tell me it wasn’t my business, it didn’t matter or it wasn’t important.

It made me feel so paranoid, angry & even betrayed.  Paranoid because I wondered who would tell my mother these things that I hadn’t even done.  Angry that someone would tell her things I hadn’t done & she would believe I was capable of such things.  Betrayed because clearly this person knew me.. what if this was a close friend of mine?  My friends at the time knew about much of the abuse… how could any of them lie to my abuser knowing what happened when she was angry with me?!

Thankfully my mother stopped this after I moved out.  I honestly thought I was over it, too.  That is, until the spring of 2009, when one of my cousins & I had a falling out.  She had invited my husband & I for Christmas a couple of months prior, & I declined.  Apparently some time after, she learned that we took my parents to visit my father’s sister about a couple of weeks before Christmas & assumed that meant I spent Christmas with our aunt.  I explained that wasn’t the case at all, I wouldn’t do that to her.  Her response?  “Why are you lying to me?  My sources told me you spent Christmas with her.”  That was a big trigger for me.  All the old anger I’d felt at my mother came flooding back to the surface.  Apparently I wasn’t over it, & with good reason.

So many narcissists use this type of manipulation.  They accuse their victims of outrageous behavior, & say “my sources said you did it” or, “I was told you were seen doing that.”  When you try to find out who their mysterious sources are, they say it doesn’t matter, it’s not your business or you don’t need to know.  If you’ve been in this position, you know just how infuriating it is.  It’s bad enough being accused of something awful you didn’t do, but not to know who is saying you’ve done this makes it even worse.

You know something though?  The reason they refuse to divulge their “source” is because that person doesn’t even exist!  The accusations came from the narcissist’s warped mind, not another person.  The reason the narcissist is saying they were told you did this thing is to make you insecure, to make you think others are talking about you & ultimately to gain control over you.  It can make you feel as if everyone is against you, & no one would believe you if you tell the truth about the abuse.  I certainly felt that way with my mother.  It makes you lose hope & afraid of disappointing people close to you.  If the narcissist is especially good at this, you may come to believe that you did what the narcissist said you did.  This makes you easy for the narcissist to control.

If you end up in this position with a narcissist, remember what they are doing.  They don’t have “sources”.  They are simply making up lies in order to gain control over you.  Don’t get caught up in defending yourself to them, because they’ll only use that to prove how mentally unbalanced you are.  And question everything they say.  Even say something like, “Really?  What did I do then?!  I want to know!”  If a narcissist wants to act so foolish, then they deserve to be called out on their behavior & to know you know they’re lying.

8 Comments

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Mental Health, Narcissism

Frequently Used Gaslighting Phrases

4 Comments

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

Manipulative Memes

I love memes.  In fact, I saved many over the years.  Some inspire me with quoting Scripture.  Others inspire because of the beautiful pictures.  And then there are ones like this one that was popular on Facebook for a while.  It said, “It is very sad when members of the same family do not talk to each other.  The children suffer for the adult ego.  Cousins miss the wonderful opportunity to be together, & all due to a bruised adult ego.  Stop getting offended.  Reunite with your family members.  One day your imaginary conflict will all come to an end…with or without you.  Don’t wait until it’s too late.  Type yes if you agree.”

That one about made me gag.

I will admit, there are families where someone is being a petty jerk & not speaking to other family members.  It does happen, but I don’t believe it’s all that common.

What is much more common is when someone in a family is abusive, & their victim gets fed up.  They sever ties with that abuser to protect themselves & sometimes also their spouse &  children.  The abuser & their devoted flying monkeys harass the victim, drag their name through the mud & blindly support the abuser.   Meanwhile the victim is left behind in a state of shock & deeply hurt by the betrayal of not only the abuser but the family members who once said they loved the victim.  I guess that truth doesn’t make such a “nice”, wholesome sounding meme though, does it?

If I sound angry about this, it’s because I am.  Not only for myself since I have been in this position but for the countless others who have been as well.

It’s not right to abuse someone in the first place.  There is no reason to abuse anyone.  The only thing that makes this even worse is when people know about the abuse, but treat the abuser with kindness & the victim with disdain.  Treating someone who has the courage to open up about being abused is one of the cruelest things a person can do to another in my opinion.  It takes a lot of courage to go against the abuser’s wishes in any way, especially their desire to keep their acts secret, because once it’s out, you can’t take it back.  To treat someone in this position as if they’re lying, making a big deal about nothing, acting like a spoiled brat, trivialize their feelings or experiences or claim they want to hear nothing about it is absolutely disgraceful & disgusting.  Anyone who does this should be utterly ashamed of their actions, but sadly that is rare.

People who act this way are people who are fans of the meme I mentioned at the beginning of this post.  Those people obviously have issues.  Since I’m related to many of that type of person & have seen their sick behavior first hand, I think I can say that without any doubt.  Thanks to these people, I have learned a few things about this kind of person.

People who treat victims as they do often have abuse in their past.  They don’t have the guts to face that fact, so they deny it.  They put on a fake happy face & tell stories of their happy family.  Their denial runs deep so they don’t have to face the pain.  Any perceived threat to it & they attack.  This includes silencing other victims who are willing to speak out, even when those victims are their own family.

There are others who know the narcissist & refuse to believe the truth.  They believe the “nice guy/girl” act & will also attack any threat to their denial of the truth.

People like this are just as toxic as the narcissist who abused you in the first place.  And sadly, they’re out there creating memes like this & hurting & manipulating God only knows how many people who see it.  It’s utterly disgusting!  You really can’t believe everything you read, because sometimes it’s nothing more than garbage written by toxic people.

16 Comments

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

About Coercive Control

Narcissists clearly are experts in the area of controlling.  One lesser known tactic they use is called coercive control.  It is most commonly known to happen in romantic relationships, but it also can happen in parent/child relationships.

Coercive control doesn’t always involve physical violence, yet victims wonder if they don’t obey the narcissist, will it turn violent one day?  Fear is a great weapon, & those who use coercive control are well aware of that fact.  Often without so much as touching their victim, they instill a deep fear in them.

There are other signs of coercive control that people need to be aware of abusers using.

Intimidation is a big red flag.  Towards the end of my first marriage, my ex was trying to intimidate me by punching things other than me.  After, he would tell me how lucky I was he was hitting the walls instead of me.  Other forms of intimidation can include showing weapons, blocking you from leaving the room or standing over you in a way as to make themselves look much bigger than you.

“Minor” violent acts.  I hate to use the word minor with violent acts because it sounds like it’s trivializing violence.  That isn’t my intention.  What I mean is acts like pushing, holding you in place or even pinching hard.  These are so called minor violent acts.

Using threats to control.  Threatening to leave you, to commit suicide or hurt your child or pet in order to get what they want fall into the category of coercive control.

Micromanaging a victim.  When someone controls things like how you dress or how you wash the dishes, it makes you easy to control because in time, you feel as if you must ask your partner for permission to do everything.   Some parents continue treating their adult child as if they were young children in need of their guidance well into adulthood.  This is known as infantilization.

Financial abuse.  An abusive partner will keep their mate in the relationship by destroying their credit, spending all of their paychecks or refusing them all access to the couple’s finances.

Isolation is another form of coercive control.  It’s no secret that abusers isolate their victims.  Isolation makes victims easy to control by limiting the information & support they can receive from outside sources.  Abusers may claim their victims’ friends or family aren’t good for them as one way to isolate their victims.

Sex is a very commonly used method of coercive control.  Abusers may violently rape their victims of course, but that isn’t always the case.  Many use shame, saying things like, “Any other woman in the world would do this one little thing for me…” or, “If you loved me, you would do this for me.”  They also may be very good lovers at first to get you hooked on sex with them, then in time, they suddenly lose interest in having sex with you.  When you practically beg them is when they have power over you.  They use the opportunity to tell you what they want from you that will make them regain interest in sex.

When things like this happen, it’s not easy to identify these behaviors as abusive at first.  Abusers get worse gradually, to build a victim’s tolerance to abuse.  This is probably why so many victims stay… it happened so gradually, they didn’t even realize it was happening.  By the time they did, they felt unable to escape.

If this describes you or someone you know, please get out NOW!!!  These behaviors are all signs of a potentially violent person!  Protect yourself & stay safe!  xoxo

21 Comments

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

About Being “The Bigger Person”

Leave a comment

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Mental Health, Narcissism

Common Ways Narcissists Get Attention

Leave a comment

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

Ways People Excuse Abusive Behavior

 

2 Comments

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

About Cognitive Dissonance

Cognitive dissonance describes the very uncomfortable feeling of learning that something you believed was true is indeed not true.  Imagine living your life always believing the sky was green.  It never crossed your mind thinking it was anything but green.  Suddenly one day, someone tells you the sky is blue.  You know the person who told you it is blue wouldn’t lie to you.  You also see for yourself that it’s blue.  You now have to accept this new fact that that the sky is blue.  That awkward feeling of struggling to accept the new reality is cognitive dissonance.

Cognitive dissonance is a very common problem among those who have survived narcissistic abuse.  Narcissists lie about pretty much everything, especially to their victims.  They have no problem lying & do it constantly.  Anything to get them what they want.  Because of this, victims often struggle with cognitive dissonance when they learn the truth.  I’ve been there many times.

Most recently, I’ve experienced cognitive dissonance upon learning after my mother’s death that my parents loved me, in some way (just not a normal, healthy way).  As a child, I just assumed they did, because that’s what children do.  As I got older, I didn’t think they did due to their abusive ways, & worked hard to accept that painful truth.  Then after my mother’s death, in the process of clearing out the house, I found they had saved cards & things I’d given them, school projects & other things that they wouldn’t have saved if they didn’t love me.  Talk about difficult to accept & rectify in my mind!

Experiencing cognitive dissonance can be very difficult & painful.  Learning some truths can be downright excruciating.  There is also the fact of learning that someone you love lied to you.  That broken trust can be very painful.  There is also the subject matter of the lie.  That can bring up sadness, anger, hurt & all kinds of unpleasant emotions.

When facing this distressing & challenging situation. as always I recommend beginning with prayer.  Ask God for whatever you need, such as help in getting through this, strength, courage.

Consider the evidence facing you, too.  Is it clearly the truth?  If someone has told you something that is causing this cognitive dissonance, is that person trustworthy?

Always remember that there is no shame in believing something wrong.  We all have done this!  The only problem would be if you were unwilling to be open to new perspectives & beliefs.

There is also no shame in that you trusted someone who lied to you.  This is something every single person has done at some point.  It happens!  it doesn’t mean you are foolish or naive or anything else.  It means you’re human!

Also think about this: the person who is willing to challenge their beliefs, to learn & grow, is brave & intelligent.  Many people prefer to stay in their own little box.  They are content with not changing, learning or growing.  The person they were five years ago is the same person they are now & will be in five years.  Actually, if you think about it… that describes flying monkeys.  They accept something as truth (such as the narcissist being a good person) & refuse to change their minds even when faced with evidence to the contrary, like when the narcissist shows their abusive ways.  You aren’t like that, though!  You’re willing to face truth no matter how painful it is.

Humility is another thing that shows when you are dealing with cognitive dissonance.  Being willing to change your perspective shows that you realize you don’t know everything.  That is a very good quality!

Don’t let your experience with cognitive dissonance make you feel badly about yourself.  Everyone has experienced it at some point.

You will survive this painful time with your sanity in tact, even though it may not feel like it at the time.  xoxo

2 Comments

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism